Mutha and Brother

All vehicles were whizzing by, and we could only ask two children who looked like brothers and were selling Kannada evening-papers. Their dark-brown faces were clean and sharp. They knew the landmarks: Food World and HDFC Bank before it, Bata Shoe Store on the left, Food Bazaar on the way—establishments beyond their use, but which they knew. They gave clear directions eagerly. Then the younger, shorter boy demanded that we buy a paper for two Rupees. His brother thought him overly opportunistic and tried pulling him away: yey, baaro! But he was stubborn and we bought one and I asked him his name: Mutha. We drove on and I saw in my mirror the older boy still chiding Mutha.

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